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Florida prep football team gives signed helmet to No. 1 fan

Members of a Florida high school football team surprised their No. 1 fan with a Christmas gift.

Andrew Hayne is a special needs student at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel. The 18-year-old has been friends with Bulls quarterback Chris Faddoul since middle school, BayNews9 reported. Faddoul would let Hayne wear his No. 14 jersey on Fridays before Wesley Chapel games, and after the Bulls’ completed a 7-3 season, Faddoul wanted to do something special for his friend.

The quarterback got his teammates to sign a Wiregrass Ranch helmet, and he gave it to Hayne just before the Christmas break.

"He never had the chance to go out on the actual field and put on a actual helmet or pads or anything," Faddoul told BayNews9.

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The helmet had the inscription “To our No. 1 fan,” and even included the name “Fadoodle,” which is what Hayne calls the senior quarterback, who threw for 892 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2016 season.

Hayne responded with a hug for Faddoul, who said “We love you, buddy, Merry Christmas.” Hayne then tried on the helmet and immediately went into a three-point stance.

“Feels good, I feel tough,” Hayne says in the video.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Andrew receives a great Christmas presentThis is wonderful. Wiregrass Ranch student Chris Faddoul and the Bulls football team gave their number one fan, Andrew, the Christmas present of a lifetime. They gave him an autographed football helmet from the team. Merry Christmas!Posted by Pasco County Schools on Friday, December 23, 2016

Florida high school football team gives signed helmet to No. 1 fan

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Andrew receives a great Christmas presentThis is wonderful. Wiregrass Ranch student Chris Faddoul and the Bulls football team gave their number one fan, Andrew, the Christmas present of a lifetime. They gave him an autographed football helmet from the team. Merry Christmas!Posted by Pasco County Schools on Friday, December 23, 2016

Ohio student with MD scores touchdown on senior night

An Ohio high school senior with muscular dystrophy scored a touchdown for the varsity football team Friday night while remaining in his wheelchair.

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Connor Williams has been a special captain with the Valley View High School varsity football team in Germantown since his freshman year. Being confined to a wheelchair has never stopped his love of Spartans football.

Williams has served in several capacities for the football team, from water boy to team manager. Friday night was senior night, and he was given the chance to be a player.  After receiving a varsity letter and a football signed by the players and cheerleaders, Williams took a lateral from running back Collin Gensinger, who had caught a short pass from quarterback Collin Wood. Williams then piloted his wheelchair down the right sideline for a special touchdown.

“To be out there and get to do it with the other kids who have always treated him just like anybody else, it’s been great to him,” said Williams’ father, Ty. “I mean it’s just an honor.”

Williams’ mother, Kimberly, said Connor will stay in school until he’s 21 to continue his therapy and his education.

“I’m just beaming with joy,” she said. “I always wanted to see him on the field and luckily, we were able to do it. It was the best thing.”

Valley View improved to 9-1 Friday night, defeating Eaton 41-22 as the Spartans won their fifth straight game.

Black high school football player allegedly attacked with noose in Mississippi

The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation following an alleged noose attack at Stone County High School in Wiggins, Mississippi.

A black high school student said he was attacked by multiple students before football practice on Oct. 13. The white students reportedly placed a noose around the black student’s neck and “yanked backward,” according to ESPN.com. John Feaster, the football coach at Stone County, told ESPN.com that only one individual was involved in the incident – not a group – and that player is no longer with the team.

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However, Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, said the victim's parents have not been told of any disciplinary action taken against the students responsible.

The principal at Stone County and representatives from the school district declined to comment, but Feaster told ESPN that it’s “sad” there are still things like this happening in 2016.

“”Trust me. I understand. I’m an African-American male, and I was born and raised in Mississippi,” Feaster said. “It’s sad that something like this happens in 2016. I just pray we can get it together.”

(h/t Complex)

This is what football can do to a child's brain after just one season

The results of a new study may have some parents rethinking whether they allow their children to play football.

>> Watch the news report here

Three million children in the U.S. play in tackle football programs. While many doctors and scientists have taken a look at the impact of concussions, new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center studied the impact of less-serious blows to the head that are common during games.

The study included 25 players between the ages of 8 and 13 and was centered on a youth program in Winston-Salem, N.C. Each boy was outfitted with a helmet that measured the severity and frequency of head blows.

“This is important, particularly for children, because their brains are undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the age category from maybe 9 to 18. And we just don’t know a lot of about it,” Dr. Chris Whitlow, a lead researcher, told NBC News.

Researchers say their findings indicated that even at this young age, the boys were receiving pretty hard hits.

The doctors then performed MRIs on the players and determined there were some changes in the brain’s white matter, the tissue that connects the gray matter of the brain.

“We have detected some changes in the white matter,” Whitlow said. “And the importance of those changes is that the more exposure you have to head impacts, the more change you have.”

Young players who did not have concussions were also found to have been impacted by repeated hits. Brain changes were found even after a single season of playing the sport.

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So far, doctors are not cautioning parents against letting their children play football since there are still some unclear areas following the study. Doctors don’t know if these changes will continue as the boys play football. They also don’t know what long-term impact the repeated blows to the head will have on the players.

Still, some parents say the sport is worth the risk — for now — because of the joy it brings to their children. Football also encourages their kids to stay on top of their grades.

Kindra Ritzie-Worthy has two sons who play football. She says they take their footballs everywhere they go. One even sleeps with his ball.

“Worth the risk?” she told NBC. “I say absolutely.”

The study is published in the journal Radiology.

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